MANCINI DEFENDS BALOTELLI
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini claims Mario Balotelli's behaviour on and off the pitch is blown out of all proportion.
Mancini believes the media make too much of the activities of the maverick striker, although he does feel the player could give them less to feed on.
Balotelli has proved a constant source of headlines throughout his two seasons at City and has been on front as well as back pages of newspapers this week.
Mancini said: "There are some people who think bad things against other people, like Mario.
"Every time Mario does something, (it) is like a war.
"There are other people on and off the pitch that do worse than Mario and no-one says anything because maybe they play for an important team or are not like Mario."
Yet Mancini would much prefer it if the 21-year-old could play and then find a way to keep his private life out the news.
When asked if he tires of asking questions about his fellow Italian, Mancini, speaking at a press conference, said: "I would like Mario to play, score and finish the other situation.
"It is not maybe your [the media's] fault - it is his fault because if he wants he can play and stay at home. Like this, no people can ask about the other situation.
"I think many people have different behaviour with Mario."
Balotelli frustrated Mancini with his performance in last weekend's Premier League clash with Sunderland, despite scoring twice in the 3-3 draw.
Mancini claimed he considered substituting him after just five minutes while he later got involved in an argument with team-mate Aleksandar Kolarov over who should take a free-kick.
There were also reports of a row with Yaya Toure in the dressing room, but that was rubbished by Mancini.
Mancini said: "Yaya Toure - that is totally false.
"What happened with Kolarov on the pitch, that is a situation that can happen in difficult moments.
"It is not good but I can understand this situation can happen.
"After the game it was finished. I am not worried - it is important that after the game everything was okay.
"We don't have any problems between Mario and Kolarov."
Mancini said he is hopeful that top scorer Sergio Aguero will be fit for Sunday's trip to Arsenal after his foot injury. Defender Joleon Lescott is also back in contention after recovering from a hip problem.
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